DVDs In Brief: July 6, 2011

DVDs In Brief: July 6, 2011

Inspired by the true story of several French monks who disappeared from an Algerian monastery in 1996, Xavier Beauvois’ Of Gods And Men (Sony) details the shift in political circumstances that led the monks, who once enjoyed peaceful coexistence with the Islamic locals, into tense relations with the government and Muslim guerrillas. Though the film won the Grand Prix (second prize) at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, its austerity mistakes volume for weight, assuming that if a scene goes on long enough, viewers will get the sense it’s important…

If you’re at all inclined to see a movie called Hobo With A Shotgun (Magnolia), Jason Eisener’s cult-ready debut unquestionably delivers on its title. The film began life as a fake trailer, and now that it’s been expanded to a full feature, it’s stretched a little thin. But Eisener’s loving throwback to ’70s and ’80s exploitation movies gets some mileage out of imagining the most horrific things people can do to each other…

Though primarily known as a prolific supplier of extreme horror films like Audition and Ichi The Killer, director Takashi Miike has proven to be a versatile genre stylist, doing original takes on the Western, the musical, and the avant-garde art movie. With 13 Assassins (Magnolia), his best film since Audition, Miike turns his attention to the samurai movie, expertly aping the classicism of Seven Samurai in the first hour before going hog-wild in the second. Two words: flaming rhinos…

Credit the hapless network NBC for one thing: When it fails, it has the courtesy to fail big. With The Cape, NBC tried to recapture the short-lived excitement that developed around Heroes before Heroes became one of the worst shows on television. But its premise of a cop who gets framed for murder, then reinvents himself as a Batman-like superhero known only as “The Cape,” was goofier than viewers were willing to accept. The Cape: The Complete Series (Universal) includes all nine episodes that aired, plus a tenth that appeared online only.

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